Expounding on Light

guestcuriosity, Logic, mormon, religion, spirituality 13 Comments

This is a guest post from Heber13.

As a guest author, a brief introduction is appropriate.  I am a direct descendant from members of the Martin Handcart company of mormons, however, despite the efforts of my ancestors to make such sacrifices to walk across the plains to get out west, my parents decided to take a plane ride back to the East Coast where I was born and raised in the church my whole life.  I attended BYU, served a state-side mission, and now am married with 4 kids that are the center of my life.

Entering a new stage in life (the old, out of shape, and bald stage), I marvel at how far I have to go yet in my understanding of things, and have started realizing that my prior confidence in seeing light and truth is but a pinhole view of the true vision and beauty this mortal experience has to offer all of us.

This enlightenment has made me think a lot about enlightenment, and even more so on Light, which is such an interesting spiritual and physical topic.

The word “Light” appears in the scriptures 535 times. The dictionary defines light as something that makes vision possible or something that enlightens or informs.

Interestingly, Greeks first theorized light originated from the eye, and went outward so we could see things.  Now it is known that the Sun is our source of light and it is by the law of reflection that forms, shapes, and colors give us vision to see things.

One of the first things God did in the creation was to divide the light from the dark, for darkness cannot abide where there is light.  And light was good.  There was light before there was life.

As a few of us on another forum were discussing light, it became a topic that has so many levels of meaning, that it would be good to discuss on MormonMatters what these things mean to this group, and hopefully bring to light a greater meaning of “light”.

There are others in our group like JMB275 can probably give even more detail on the science and physics of light, and how ElectroMagnetic Radiation is understood now.  All I know is that all colors of light are made of the same substance, but manifest themselves differently to my eye based on variation in wave lengths of types of electromagnetic radation waves.  Even the same light source (sun’s rays) appear different to my eye at different times of the day (sunrise, mid-day, sunset) and at different seasons (winter vs summer).

5dollarLikewise, I can see the light of the gospel differently, or understand things differently, at different times in my life.  Indeed, temple ceremonies or scriptures can remain fairly constant, yet each time I refer back to them, they seem to bring some new color or principle to life, and I see the world differently by being exposed to them.

I have often wondered why some people, including me, go through trials or experiences, and something in them changes so that what they used to see clearly, as clear as day about the church and their testimony of it, suddenly changes and appears different, sometimes drastically different.  In those situations, has the outside object (the church or God) changed? No, but the individuals “eyes” or “lenses” or whatever they use to see these things, somehow changes and they see it differently.

Brigham Young said: “Let a man or woman who has received much of the power of God, visions and revelations, turn away from the holy commandments of the Lord, and it seems that their senses are taken from them, their understanding and judgment in righteousness are taken away, they go into darkness, and become like a blind person who gropes by the wall” (DBY, 82-83).

Throughout the scriptures, people would fall away from truth and were said to have their minds darkened at times, because of unbelief; which is really to say that the light was still there but something was blocking it and they were left in darkness.  In 1832, as some early missionaries returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, He said, their minds had been darkened. Not only had treating this sacred book lightly brought a loss of light to themselves, but a condemnation to the whole church which decades later Ezra T. Benson continued to teach was still in affect.

Christ taught in Matthew 6:23 that if your eye is evil, the whole body is dark.  Or sometimes there may be something on or in your eye that can block that light.  Cataracts make things dark or wearing rose-colored glasses changes how you see the outside world. Of Beams and Motes In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior revealed one of the greatest insights to the human tendency to fault-finding, and gave what is sometimes called the Change-First Principle. For him, a beam was a large piece of wood and a mote was a small speck of sawdust.  Clearly it is more important to remove the beam so we can see the light unobstructed.

The other relevant aspect of light to note is how uniquely personal vision or the interpretation of that light can be.  While a light source containing one truth (or one make-up of patterns of electromagnetic radiation wavelengths), it can be seen or perceived so differently depending on our processing or interpretation of that one light source.  Our eye sensors measure it and my sensors aren’t the same as everyone else’s.  I have a difficult time seeing the difference between a light shade of pink and white, and the difference between darker pink and red, and also blue and purple.  Others are color blind altogether, only seeing some colors they can interpret or if only may see shades of black and white and never experience what red is (or experience it differently than I do).  Even still, others are blind all together and don’t see colors or shapes or forms or light, just darkness.

Interestingly, the light from the source is still the same for everyone, yet we could debate for hours on end what “red” really is.  Why is it so important to define the color and what it is and classify everything by how we see things? Wouldn’t it be nice if the world could just say “yes that is a beautiful color – whatever you call it”?

Finally, the other aspect of light I see relevant to discuss is that light is not only what we see with our eyes, but also is what we feel.  On a cloudy day, a sunburn can remind you that not all the sun’s light is visible, and for those who are blind and can’t see the light, can still feel the warmth to know the light is there.  Having lived across the country, my experience in Ohio reminds me that during late winter months until summer time, the overcast clouds hide the sunlight for most of the time, and the psychological effects are that there is increased depression by not being exposed to enough visible light.  With more light we seem to be more happy and healthy.

A beam of white light (entering upwards from the right) is dispersed into its constituent colors by its passage through a prism. The fainter beam of white light exiting to the upper right has been reflected (without dispersion) off the first I reflect (no pun intended) upon the message of the Master: “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). The firmer our faith in Jesus Christ, the clearer our vision of ourselves and what we can ultimately achieve and become. “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” Solomon proclaimed (Prov. 29:18). But how do we get a clear vision of who we are?

How much do we think we see the full spectrum of light and we think our vision is clear and complete, yet we are only really seeing a few colors of the rainbow, and there is more to see if we let ourselves?

In D&C 88, we read about the Light of Christ.

6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;

7 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.

8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;

9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;

10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.

11 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;

12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to bfill the immensity of space—

13 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.

These ideas shed an interesting light on the subject.  Light is not only knowledge and understanding, but life itself comes from light. What can live without any light?  I think in this, there is something common throughout the whole human race, the Light of Christ and the feeling from our conscience or sub-conscience that there is a purpose in life, and that whatever it is, it is bigger than us. There is a draw or pull to want us to find more light and knowledge, and see the full rainbow of colors to experience the beauty of it all.

Reptile experts know you can differentiate a poisonous cotton mouth snake from a non-venomous snake by its colors.  The Lord didn’t make everything white. What makes the world such a beautiful place is seeing all the colors of the rainbow, like different instruments and parts of an orchestra that together sound vibrant.  By not only tolerating others and other religions, but loving and accepting them for who they are and become awed by their colors and their truths they possess, we can begin to really see things as God sees all His children.  To believe the Mormon church has all that is of value to me is like making my whole house blue, inside and out…not very appealing, and it would probably drive me crazy without going out into the world to see other colors.

Perhaps instead of trying to our establish our vision as “the right way” and tell others they need to see it that way too, we will find that as we get close to God and see things in His light, that your colors and my colors and all colors of the rainbow merge into one beautiful color of white, brighter far than the noon-day sun. Of course, as we come closer to the true light, we become more aware of blemishes and things about ourselves we need to fix as we see more of ourselves as we really are.  In the dark shadows, distinctions and differences are hidden from our view.  Perhaps that is why some people prefer the darkness, and feel more comfortable holding dances with less illumination…I mean, who wants to really see all that is going on in some situations?  This could be why some will feel more comfortable in a Telestial Kingdom where the glory is compared to the flickering light of a far off star.

So what does the group think about the principles of light and how you see colors differently from others, and what that means about your perceptions of truth and light?  What are other colors that the world has to offer that we may not be able to see if we filter everything through a set of Mormon tinted eyeglasses?  Do you believe there is one source of light out there?

Comments 13

  1. Heber13 – You are absolutely correct and right ON point! I have recently made many posts on different sites expounding and exposing the facts and my personal discoveries regarding just these things.
    I am a professional magnetic/electronic field imaging tech. with years of training and experience.
    I have taken thousands of computer interfaced photos of a very wide variety of persons, members, but mostly non-members. All ages, animals / babies / toddlers / children / teens / young adults, etc. up to the eldest! I made a study using personal interviews, limited survey and composed a theory regarding what you wrote about, adding in my personal discoveries and conclusions. You are on track and are close to many deep seated connections and explanations regarding our spirits / mortal bodies / etc. The physical experience is directly affected by light as an outside factor, but there is much more happening concerning the light factor that is the frequency base inside music / food / smells / sound / color / ad infinitum. Add to that a very strong factor of how much we are empowered to control these things, the resulting influence that it has upon our relationships and success or failure of daily interaction socially, and in every other field of mortal existence!!
    I tried to interface these facts, with a minor reference to the science in many posts, but was esentially called a “nut case” or someone who was “changing the subject / not sticking to the normal” exchange system. NO ONE was interested or resonded to what I KNOW is “Break-out” news or understanding for the spiritual parts of our daily lives. I have felt, like your comment about the telestial level persons being uncomfortable…it is a hard thing to face up to the fact that we ARE VERY responsible for our own states / conditions / quality of life and being. We have to accept the consequences for all we have done…and are doing…and even though most times it was done under the “best” that we knew at the time..and sometimes under extenuating circumstances beyond our control..we still suffer the effects and results.
    HENCE comes in the rescue of the Atonement. But, of course, that means one has to admit the errors, sins, or whatever it was that caused the NEGATIVE LIGHT to enter our beings / lives. Did we deliberately choose it, or were we exposed by default? Do we chose now to SEE pornography / or R-rated ads, pics, jokes, whatever? Do we listen to off color jokes, speak profanely, shoot “F” bombs?
    Anger? Impatient?….
    Yes, Heber13. LIGHT IS in scriptures, positive (electric frequencies) music, positive reading material, ALL things that are good and lead to Christ, of Christ, from Christ (the highest frequency of LIGHT)…and He is the purest strongest source of that life giving light!
    Congratulations for your incredible article and courage to move beyond the boundries of comfort.
    We can chose what light is coming into our lives / bodies / souls. We ARE in control. We can cleanse and repair through humility, repentance, forgiveness, healing, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. LIGHT is everything in Spirit.
    “The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words LIGHT and truth”!
    Thanks again for words OF light and truth.
    Love to All

  2. P.S. Of course the Holy Ghost is the implementor in carrying this powerful element TO us when we are worthy and qualified to receive and WILLING to receive. When we do chose, desire to receive, and accept light and truth into our hearts and minds, then we start to “shine” a special light outwards.
    Sometimes, depending on our FRUIT of the spirit, and the amount of light we have iside the elements of our cells, there are those who literally glow. sometimes it is seen only in the eyes, when one gets confirmation of ‘eye to eye’. Sometimes certain people who have sanctified themselves enough, are seen with that glow or haze of light around them.
    Commonly known as an aura, it is a mixture of all the colors or just a few of the color spectrum, but those that are MORE sanctified have basically the three of WHITE, purple and blue. Most people cannot see this with the natural eye. Some people have a spiritual gift to be able to see it imminating. In the early days before cameras, famous painters would depict Christ and holy people with halos of light around their heads and bodies. It does exist. Most people will just ‘feel’ it, not see it. Those are people we all love to be around, cause they make us feel good or better “just being around them”…from the contact of the light frequency giving us a POSITIVE ELECTRICAL CHARGE when we come within the range of their auric / light immanation sphere.
    Others who have a more negative charge coming out and around them (dark invites more dark) (light draws in more light)…the negative gives you a slight or heavier ‘shock’ “buzz” or yuky effect / feeling. You have a feeling of repulsion if you are OF LIGHT! You want to get otta there and move on to a more comfortable place (level of spiritual light)..more suited to YOUR level…to what degree of POSITIVE feeling you are drawn to, are choosing to come into your life and stay in YOUR being.
    It IS PURE SCIENCE…..which includes eternal laws of existence as well.
    Enough said for today.
    I end with this advice: Check the listing of the FRUIT of the Holy Ghost as a baromenter for the level of light and truth YOU have currently. If you are feeling and display to others: love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, temperance, faith, meekness, goodness – Galatians 5:22,23. (I goofed in previous references using 2 Thess., SORRY)..if you ARE feeling these and acting with these attributes, you are taking in a majority of LIGHT and keeping it within you. If not, you can instantly reutrn to the source of all light…choosing to yield to the Holy Ghost Mosiah 3:19.
    There is no safe middle ground.
    May we all be empowered to chose all LIGHT over any darkness through Christ our Savior and Redeemer.
    There IS NO OTHER WAY!!!!

  3. Wow, Sharon…you are certainly familiar with this topic. Not sure why it would not be accepted or discussed on other threads or sites, other than if it was taking the discussion in a different path…but glad you found this one.

    One aspect I have always been very interested in, and I take it literally in the scriptures, is when people’s minds are darkened because of unbelief.

    I don’t view dark as something that comes to people’s minds, but I view the absence of light to be darkness. Have you researched or studied this element of light…that darkness is the absence of light and why some people have their minds lose light, or become darkened? What do you make of that?

  4. Yes, would love to expound this morning. Got to leave for work till 8pm tonight. Sorry, don’t have internet hook up at work. Will take on that exact point later. Just a tid-bit. Dark elements exist.
    They have the exact opposite, as in “must needs be opposition in all things”. They exhibit the attributes and power of the ‘other’ side of things because they are on the frequency spectrum of negativity. They have the opposite pull / power and reaction. Things of ‘darkness’ or anything on the exact opposite are repulsed by light. “Darkness flees….etc.” So, will try to go further later.
    I remain very very grateful there is someone out there that has knowledge and experience on this subject, because even though it seems mysterious, it really is just a basic, IF we are viewing all things in a compound…..and on a WHOLE eternal persepective. Just because people don’t know yet about it all, it is still in the class of ‘rule’ and law. Thanks again Heber13. I will share much more in the future, including why some lose light, become dark, etc. Remember I have actual photos that show to the eye proof of those concepts. It’s not double blind, but witnessed and time recorded. Email link would help me to send more info to you someday.

  5. @Heber13
    Great post! I loved it! I recently finished reading “The Shack” which was very inspiring for me. One of the scenes in that book is when the main character sees a crowd of people in the distance. All those in the crowd have rainbows surrounding them, and when they talk, or point, the rainbows move in the direction they are projecting their voices, or pointing. The parallel being drawn is exactly the point you are making, that we all see things or experience things differently. The idea in the book takes it further and tries to explain that if we could truly see what each person was projecting we would see people for who and what they truly are.

    It’s a very inspiring metaphor.

  6. Interesting post. Light is a very interesting subject, something I’ve been studying quite a bit lately. Light as a metaphor even is useful today in the Information Age. We now know that light is a constant… it always moves at the same speed, not relative to anything. If you are in a spaceship, flying at a very high speed, and you shine a beam of light forward, it will appear to be moving at the speed of light. If you shine a beam backward, it will still appear to be moving at the speed of light. Matter doesn’t behave that way at all. In addition to that, light seems to be one of the fundamental building blocks of the Universe. A few scientists have made (maybe tenuous) connections between the “ground floor” of energy in the Universe (which surprisingly is non-zero) and the “light” spoken of in the Bible. Not LDS scientists, mind you: http://twm.co.nz/zpf_haisch.htm .

    It’s an interesting connection, if you think about it. We’re taught that the Light of Christ permeates the Universe and all creation, guiding people towards true principles. And we’re actually discovering that there’s really no such thing as zero light, anywhere. There is a non-zero amount of light that exists everywhere in the Universe… we’re literally bathing in it. Our eye only “sees” light in contrast. What is pitch-dark to us actually is just the smallest amount of light possible, which is actually non-zero.

    Anyway, I’m not a physicist so I can’t say more than that without looking stupid but it’s definitely interesting.

  7. #6, Arthur…you pick up on a key concept…that the “light is constant” and not relative to anything. It is what it is.

    This is how I think of TRUTH, since the glory of God is “light and truth”.

    I think the truth about who God is, and how He works, and what His mission or plan is, is not relative to Western Countries, or this century, or this religion. It is a constant, and the trick is how we can come to SEE that truth.

    However, too many times, we see only one color of the light, or a reflection of the light not in its pure form, and we argue with others that “we have the truth”.

    I believe there is a universal truth, and light has something to do with it.

  8. #5 JMB, I will have to check out that book, the Shack. Sounds interesting.

    I think conflict and disagreements are a product of our “seeing through a glass darkly” in this mortal world. We don’t see everything about others, because if we did, we wouldn’t have to make judgement calls about what kind of person they are or what they meant to say when they said something…we would just see them in the light that they are and completely understand them, and they understand us…and there wouldn’t be as much conflict.

    But this life is intended to be a path walking in faith…not seeing everything, not proving all with science, but being able to live in the shadows and still show God our character.

  9. #4. You bring up another interesting thing about understanding light:
    “They have the exact opposite, as in “must needs be opposition in all things”.”

    Light and colors can be relative, and knowing what black is helps define what white is. It seems the scriptures always equate Light with Good, and Dark with Evil.

  10. Guess what Heber13???
    My husband and I are friend with William Paul Young, the author of The Shack.
    We know all the neat background personals about the story and after story.
    Would you like to meet him?
    His dau is visiting us in Sept.
    His story is a miracle of God making merciful blessings from rags to riches.
    His book is giant and growing in the Orient right now, he is going to South Korea in Sept.

  11. Sharon, I won’t be in Tennessee any time soon, but I will try to contact you directly about this and about some of the research you can share with me.


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